Zimbabwe: Killer Cops, Soldiers Should Be Tried for Murder - Former Minister

MDC supporters protested in Harare after the electoral commission announced that Zimbabwe’s ruling party had won a majority of seats in Parliament and the country braced itself for the first official results of the presidential election (file photo).
19 December 2018

Former Education Minister, David Coltart has expressed shock and disappointment over the findings of the August 1 Commission of Inquiry which fingered the army and police as being responsible for the death of six civilians and injury of 35 others.

The 113-page report says the deaths and injuries were a direct result of the actions of the army.

President Emmerson Mnangagwa yesterday announced the finding of the report which recommended that members of the military and of the police found in breach of their professional duties and discipline should be identified as soon as possible for internal investigations and appropriate sanction.

However, Coltart questioned the recommendations of the commission which said the army and police officers need to be investigated internally.

Coltart is of the view that the officers need to be tried for murder.

"How can the Motlanthe Commission find that the military killed people and used excessive force and yet say they should only be subjected to "internal investigations & sanctions? Murder of civilians is murder and those responsible should be tried in the High Court.

"Aside from the serious breach of due process if the military are not prosecuted for murder what was the Motlanthe Commission thinking about recommending "internal investigations" when they heard army commanders denying their soldiers had killed people? I am profoundly shocked," fumed the government critic.

Presenting the report yesterday, Mnangagwa said the force used by the army and the police in dispersing the protestors was disproportionate.

"The use of live ammunition, directed at people, especially as they were fleeing, was clearly unjustified and disproportionate. The use of sjamboks, baton sticks and butts of the gun to assault members of the public indiscriminately was also disproportionate," part of the statement on the report read.

"It is imperative for the police to urgently complete their investigations to enable the prosecution of those persons responsible of all alleged crimes committed on August 1, 2018," reads the report.

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